Installation safety and security top priority

| November 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Partnerships and exercises pay off

Col. Daniel Whitney
Commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii

USAG-HI

USAG-HI

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — October proved itself a difficult month for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, especially the end of last week, which saw the evacuation of coastal areas in anticipation of a tsunami that never arrived and the unfulfilled threat of an active shooter at Schofield Barracks, Oct. 25.

In addition to those dramatic events that disrupted the daily routines of Soldiers and family members, earlier reports about an alleged incident of kidnapping and subsequent torture of two Schofield Barracks teens, Oct. 13, and two alleged incidences of sexual assault at Aliamanu Military Reservation — one on Oct. 5, the other on Oct. 6 — were reported in the media and on the garrison’s Facebook page.

Two bomb threats were also received at Schofield Barracks in October.

The garrison took all these recent events extremely seriously and worked to keep the community safe. The safety and security of our residents is always at the forefront of our efforts.

During the tsunami threat, Oct. 27, the garrison’s Emergency Operations Center was activated and shelters were established for Soldiers and family members evacuating from off-post locations.

Two days prior, a former Soldier had phoned in a threat that he was going to shoot people; he was vague as to his target. Again, the garrison EOC was activated, and proactive steps taken to protect the garrison community in a measured response, to include locking down Schofield Barracks’ two elementary schools and increasing security at the gates.

And again, thanks to the diligence of our Directorate of Emergency Services, military police and the solid cooperation of the Honolulu Police Department, the suspect was taken into custody within hours.

The bomb threats caused some inconvenience. On-post areas were quickly cordoned off and evacuated and traffic was rerouted. Both incidents were safely resolved without incident.

Our continuous exercise program with our on-post units and community partners paid off in our response to each of these real-world incidents.

While keeping the community informed, the garrison Facebook page registered a 27-percent user increase with these events, demonstrating the importance of social networking as a means of rapid communication. We are also working at other means to enhance notification of the community as events unfold. These will include 42 large marquees around our installations to display current information.

The other two events, those of the kidnapping/torture incident and two alleged sexual assaults, are currently under investigation by HPD, with assistance from DES.

It is my responsibility as garrison commander to ensure a safe and secure environment on our installations, but I also need your help.

As a community, we all need to be aware of our environment. We need to maintain vigilance of emerging situations that can threaten our families and neighbors.

Parents, it’s an old adage, but “know where your children are.”

All community members — and especially parents — can help mitigate acts of violence by taking precautionary measures. Recognize potentially dangerous situations and avoid them. Get to know your neighbors and support each other. We should all have each other’s backs.

This past month has been challenging for all of us. We’ve greatly appreciated your patience and understanding as we have responded to each incident.

By continuing to work together, we can all contribute to a safe community.

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Category: News, Safety

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